FAQ’s about sorting
Sorting is easy, but you may still have a few questions. Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions about Rinki ecopoints, sorting and recycling.
Where can I return packaging waste?
If packaging waste is collected separately in your residence, you can put the packaging in the collection container. Packaging waste can also be returned to Rinki ecopoints, which can be found in Hanko to Utsjoki, or to many municipal ecopoints.
The Rinki ecopoint is untidy and the collection containers are full. Where can I report this?
Untidy or full Rinki ecopoints should be immediately reported to Rinki’s customer service team tel. 0800 133 888 (Mon-Fri 7–21, Sat 9–18, toll-free), email@example.com or by using the feedback form so that we can deal with the issue without delay. Customer feedback is important when we plan and assess the schedules for emptying and cleaning our eco take-back points.
Can a company return its packaging waste into Rinki ecopoints?
No. Only packaging waste from households is accepted at Rinki ecopoints. The company can organize the transport of packaging waste to producers’ terminals, where packaging waste that is sorted according to the producer organisations’ instructions will be accepted free of charge.
Why do Rinki ecopoints only accept packaging?
Rinki ecopoints are only for the collection of household packaging. This is based on a statutory producer responsibility, which specifically applies to packaging.
Companies that pack products in Finland or import packed products for the Finnish market and have a turnover of at least one million euros are responsible for recycling packaging made of glass, metal, carton and plastic. Such companies bear so-called producer responsibility, which means that the packaging materials that have entered the Finnish market with products must be collected and recycled, and they must be reused in the production of new products. This responsibility is based on EU and Finnish legislation.
The operations are financed by recycling fees paid by the producers. If other types of waste were taken to Rinki ecopoints, the recycling costs would be excessive.
In addition to packaging, companies also have producer responsibility for car tyres, cars, electrical and electronic devices, batteries and recycled paper as described in the Waste Act. Other types of waste – such as the collection of plastic products – are the responsibility of municipal waste management organisations.
Why are there no Rinki ecopoints in the centre of our town?
Rinki would be happy to collect packaging waste in town centres. The ecopoints require a lot of space, which is usually scarce in town centres, and there is seldom enough room outside supermarkets. Space is also needed to safely empty the containers, which is a challenge in central areas. It is also quite difficult to obtain permits for establishing take-back points in town centres anywhere in Finland.
We build ecopoints on sites where a lot of people pass anyway. It makes sense to establish ecopoints at supermarkets so that people can return packaging when they do their shopping.
How will I recognise Rinki ecopoints?
Who is responsible for Rinki ecopoints?
Consumers can take used carton, glass and plastic packaging as well as small metal objects to Rinki ecopoints. Suomen Pakkauskierrätys RINKI Oy is responsible for the maintenance of the Rinki ecopoint network. The service is paid for by producer organisations on behalf of producer-responsible companies.
Why are the openings of the containers so small?
Rinki ecopoints are for household packaging waste. Safety is the main reason why we chose the particular containers and the sizes of their openings. For example, small openings ensure that no one can climb into a container, which could result in serious injuries.
If the containers had large openings, people could put things other than packaging waste into them, such as large objects or mixed waste, and this would make recycling more difficult. The containers would also be filled too quickly if waste other than packaging was placed in them.
This would cause littering and inconvenience for people recycling their packaging as the containers would not have room for packaging waste. This would also be the case if the openings were large enough for material to be taken out; waste would be left on the ground.
We understand that it can be frustrating if you cannot put large quantities of materials into the containers in one go. The size of the openings was carefully considered and they are deemed to be the best way to ensure successful recycling. Conscientious recyclers will be happy to know that the right type of waste is recycled.
How do I use the press machines for plastic and carton packaging?
Carton packaging: Flatten cartons and push them through the opening to ensure that as much material as possible can be processed at one time. Press the green start button if the machine has one. If there is no start button, the machine will start on its own. The machine will stop automatically.
Plastic packaging: Do not stack different types of plastic packaging inside each other. Remove tops and lids and put them into the container separately. You can, however, put plastic packaging in a plastic carrier bag. Push the packaging into the container. Press the green start button if the machine has one. If there is no start button, the machine will start on its own. The machine will stop automatically.
What should I do if the press machine is not working?
If the press machine is stuck or not working, please call our freephone number 0800 133 888 or fill in the feedback form.
Why is the press machine opening so high up?
There are legal requirements for the size and height of the opening, including its
minimum height and the safety distance to moving parts. The opening also needs to
make climbing into the container difficult.
In devices that are used by the public, the safety distances are well exceeded for the sake of added safety. Unfortunately, user friendliness has to be compromised for reasons of safety.
The size and place of the opening complies with the safety requirements and also prevents vandalism and stops people from putting the wrong materials into the container. At worst, the wrong materials can ruin an entire collection batch.
Sorting and recycling of packages
How does the Waste Act affect consumers?
The Waste Act entered into force in July 2021 and brought with it many changes to packaging waste collection, recycling and Rinki’s operations. The new act improves the ability of Finns to sort waste and accelerates the circular economy. In the future, carton, glass, metal and plastic packaging must be collected for recycling from all residential properties of at least 5 households. In addition, as a result of the new waste act, the number of plastic packaging collection points will be increased.
The new minimum number of ecopoints is regulated by the waste act. Rinki is planning the necessary changes to the current network of eco points.
Can I return the packaging of the product I bought back to the company that sold the product?
The packaging producer, i.e. the seller of the product, is not obliged to take back the packaging of the products it sells. Packaging producers manage the collection and recycling of their packaging by belonging to Rinki, which organizes the Rinki ecopoint network on behalf of the producers with the recycling fees paid by them. Sure, individual companies can offer their customers an empty product packaging return service, but there is no obligation to do so.
Where can households drop off wooden pallets and other wooden packaging?
You can find the nearest ecopoint on the Kierrätys.info online service.
Why are products packed in the first place? Isn’t it pointless?
Packaging has an important job. Products are packed in order to ensure that they remain undamaged from the factory to the end user. If a product is broken or spoilt during transport, this causes waste. In addition, the energy and material used in the manufacturing process are completely wasted. This results in more waste and damage to the environment.
Above all, packaging is used to protect the product from the environment and the environment from the product. So it is better to have packaging in the bin instead of spoilt or broken products.
Where can I take packaging containing hazardous materials?
Take it to the local hazardous waste collection point. Find your nearest collection point on the Kierrätys.info online service.
Packaging taken to Rinki ecopoints must be empty and dry. Why?
If there is any food residue left in the packaging, it will be easily spoiled and may be unrecyclable. Dirty packaging also easily causes smell-related problems. Bad smells can attract pests to waste containers and waste management facilities.
As a rule of thumb, packaging is clean enough if it could be stored at home for some time. Packaging must be free of visible dirt such as food or other residues, but stains are okay. If necessary, rinse the packaging with cold water and drain it dry as well.
Humidity also increases contamination, especially in warm weather. During the collection process, packaging waste can be compressed into a small space, causing packaging containing liquid or wet waste to also contaminate correctly sorted packaging. In winter, wet waste can freeze and stick to the container, thus making emptying difficult.
Excess residues also add to the weight of the transported waste, which unnecessarily increases the environmental burden of the collection operations.
Should carton packaging be flattened before it is put into a press machine?
Yes, it should. It is important to always flatten carton packaging, including when putting it into a press machine. Large cardboard boxes that have not been flattened are particularly likely to cause the machine to become jammed. Very large cardboard boxes (e.g. those used for furniture and large electronics) should also be cut into smaller pieces before being put in the machine.
The opening of the Rinki eco take-back point’s cardboard packaging container is smaller than a box. What should I do?
Can I put paper into the carton packaging container?
Can I place wrapping paper, ribbons and bows into the carton container?
Can I place the hard covers of books into the carton container?
No, you cannot.
Book covers are not packaging. Place book covers into the container for mixed waste.
Can I place posters into the carton container?
No, you cannot. Posters are not included in the cardboard collection as they are not packaging. Posters also contain a lot of dyes, and almost no recyclable material.
Can I place coloured paper or handicraft carton into the carton container?
No, you cannot. Neither of them is packaging. Non-recyclable glue residues or other materials could end up with the craft carton, which could hamper its recycling. Place craft carton into the container for mixed waste.
Can I place a paper bread bag with a plastic window into the carton container?
Yes, you can. If the materials cannot be separated, the packaging is recycled according to the main material. The packaging is recycled according to the material that covers the largest percentage of the packaging. In this case, the paper bread bag has a higher percentage of paper fiber by weight, so it belongs to the carton container.
Can I put those tubular crisp canisters with a metal bottom into the container for carton?
Yes, you can. You can place the plastic top of the canister with plastic packaging container. Packaging is sorted by main material if the materials cannot be separated. In this case, there is more carton than metal in the crisps canister.
Where should I put the plastic top of the milk carton?
Please remove it and place it in the plastic packaging collection.
Why do I have to flatten carton packaging and put them into one packaging? It’s too much trouble.
Carton packaging, such as cardboard boxes, is light but takes up a lot of room in a container. In order to avoid transporting fresh air, it is a good idea to flatten the packaging. The smaller the packaging that is placed in the container, the more waste the container can hold. This means that more packaging can be transported in one go, and this reduces the number of transport journeys.
So in the long run, it is worth flattening the packaging as this small effort saves emissions from transport.
When you take cardboard packaging to the collection container, make sure that the container fills evenly. Often the carton container fills only from the front edge, blocking the entrance of the container.
How carefully do I need to clean carton packaging?
Remove any food so that no food remains on the packaging. Drain milk or other liquid from the carton. Rinse the packaging quickly with cold water. Please allow the packaging to dry out a little before placing it into the take-back container.
Can I bring jam jars with a hermetic clamp seal to the glass packaging collection? Hermetic clamp seal is an airtight metal seal for bottles and jars.
You cannot, because jam jars bought for canning are not packaging. The hermetic clamp seal is also not suitable for recycling, as the seal is mostly made of stainless steel. Stainless steel causes problems in the glass recycling process.
Where can I sort window glass, drinking glasses, porcelain, ceramics, opal glass and other glass not suitable for glass packaging collection?
The municipality will issue instructions for these wastes. In many cases they are instructed to be put with mixed waste, but municipalities have their own sorting instructions for these materials. Check with your local municipal waste advice centre for sorting instructions.
Can I put my broken drinking glass in the glass packaging collection?
No you can’t, because a drinking glass is not packaging. Other glass materials than packaging, such as drinking glass materials, have qualities that make them unsuitable for recycling. Drinking glasses have a different melting point from packaging glass. Recycling in the industrial process imposes quality requirements on the material collected, which is why only glass bottles and cans are suitable for recycling. Glass packaging waste is recycled into new glass packaging.
Can I put window glass in the glass packaging container?
No you can’t, because it’s not packaging. Glass packaging waste is recycled into new glass packaging. Recycling process imposes quality requirements on the material collected, which is why only glass bottles and jars are suitable for recycling. Other glass materials, such as window glass, have qualitative characteristics that make them unsuitable for recycling. Window glass has a different melting point from packaging glass and other characteristics that make recycling difficult.
Where can I put deposit glass bottles?
Return them to the reverse vending machines located at supermarkets or Alko shops, whereas you can return non-deposit glass bottles to Rinki ecopoints.
Can I put glass graveside candleholders into the container for glass packaging?
No, you cannot. Some graveside candleholders are made of non-recyclable borosilicate glass and some may contain lead glass, which are not suitable for recycling. To ensure the quality of the glass collected, no graveside candleholders made of glass should be put into the container. You can put the metal covers of candleholders as well as tin jars for outdoor fires and aluminium tea light cases into the container for metal packaging. Some graveyards have their own collection for graveside candleholders.
Can I put perfume bottles made of glass into the container for glass packaging?
Can I put cough medicine bottles or other glass packaging purchased from a pharmacy into the glass packaging container?
Yes, return them empty and without a cap. Labels and security bands do not need to be removed.
For packaging containing unused medicine or residues, follow the instructions offered by your local waste management service. Local pharmacies usually collect unwanted medicine. Unused medicine must never be flushed down the toilet or sink.
Why are only bottles and jars allowed in the glass packaging container?
Drinking glasses, coffee pots, oven dishes, porcelain, ceramics and window or mirror glass are not allowed into the container since glass packaging will be reused in new glass packaging.
There are certain quality requirements for the recycled material used in the industrial process, which is the reason that only glass bottles and jars are suitable for recycling.
The properties of other glass materials prevent them from being used in recycling. For example, their melting points vary, or they have other properties that make them impossible or difficult to be recycled.
Can I put a deodorant bottle made of glass into the glass packaging container? And what should I do with the plastic cap?
Glass deodorant bottles are often made of opal glass, also known as milk glass. A lot of other cosmetic products are packed in opal glass. This material is not suitable for recycling, and it cannot be put into the container for glass packaging. You can put the top with plastic packaging waste or into a container for mixed waste.
Which household metals can be put in the metal packaging collection container?
Small metal from your home can be brought to the metal packaging collection. For example, cutlery, scissors, nails and aluminium candle shells can be brought to the Rinki eco take-back points as long as they fit through the opening of the container.
Please take large metal items that do not fit in the container to the location specified by your local authority.
Remember that electrical appliances such as irons, electric mixers or toasters should not be put in the metal packaging collection. There is a separate collection for electrical appliances, and they are often accepted in shops selling electrical appliances as well. The collection points for all waste materials in Finland can be found here: www.kierratys.info
Where can I put deposit beverage cans?
Return them to the reverse vending machines located at supermarkets or Alko shops, while you can return non-deposit beverage cans to metal packaging containers at the Rinki eco take-back points.
Can metal coffee capsules be put into the metal packaging collection container?
Can New Year tins be put into the metal packaging collection container?
Can I put pans and frying pans into the container for metal packaging?
Yes, if they fit through the opening in the container. You can also put other small metal objects such as cutlery, scissors, screws, nails and the aluminium casings of tea lights into this container.
Please note: take big metal objects that cannot fit into a container to the collection point specified by your municipality. Electrical appliances have their own collection points, and they can often also be taken to shops that sell them. The collection points for all waste materials in Finland can be found here: www.kierratys.info.
Can metal mustard tubes and similar items be put into the metal packaging collection container?
Yes, they can; just make sure they are empty.
How can I reduce the number of paint tins that need to be taken to the hazardous waste collection point?
If you have several paint tins that are not empty, you can pour the paints into one tin and recycle the other ones. This also reduces the number of tins that need to be taken to the hazardous waste collection point.
Pour the remaining paint into a metal container or jar that is as large as possible.
Carefully seal metal containers containing paint and take them to the hazardous waste collection point.
Leave the emptied paint tins to dry on their side for at least 24 hours before taking them to the metal collection.
Please note: never mix different types of paint or chemicals that you are not familiar with!
Water-dilutable latex paints as well as solvent-based alkyd paints and oil paints sold to consumers can be mixed together. However, solvents used for cleaning brushes and pure linseed oil must be kept separate.
How do I sort metal paint tins?
Make sure that the tin is empty, clean and dry. There should only be a very thin coat of dry paint inside, no more than the thickness of a brush stroke. Return the tops separately.
Take tins that contain wet paint to your local hazardous waste collection point. You can find your nearest collection point on the Kierrätys.info online service.
How do I sort an aerosol can, such as a hairspray bottle?
Make sure it is completely empty: shake the bottle. It is empty when there is no sound of liquid inside, no hissing when you press the spray top and no propellant or other substances come out.
Aerosol cans that are not completely empty must be taken to your local hazardous waste collection point. You can find your nearest collection point on the Kierrätys.info online service.
Why is it only possible to put packaging and not products such as buckets or toys in the plastic packaging collection?
Rinki eco take-back points are only for the collection of household packaging. This is based on a statutory producer responsibility, which specifically applies to packaging. Companies that package products in Finland or import packaged products for the Finnish market and have a turnover of at least one million euros are responsible for recycling packaging made of glass, metal, carton and plastic and for the related costs. Such companies bear so-called producer responsibility, which means that the packaging materials that have entered the Finnish market with products must be collected and recycled, and they must be reused in the production of new products. This responsibility is based on EU and Finnish legislation.
The operations of Rinki eco take-back points are funded by recycling fees collected from packaging producers. If other types of waste were taken to Rinki eco take-back points, the cost of recycling would be excessive and unfair for the producers.
Plastic products do not carry the same producer responsibility as plastic packaging, and their collection is the responsibility of the municipal waste management companies. Plastic products such as toys may also include electronic parts. There is a separate collection service for waste electrical and electronic equipment, please visit http://serkierratys.fi/en/frontpage for more information.
Can I put an oil canister into a plastic packaging collection container?
Canisters containing motor oil and other hazardous substances must not be placed in plastic packaging collection container. Motor oil causes a wide range of problems and poses also a safety risk. Please take oil canisters to a hazardous waste collection point in your area.
How are hand sanitizer bottles sorted?
A completely empty hand sanitizer bottle can be sorted into a plastic packaging collection container. If there is any disinfectant left in the bottle, it should be taken to a municipal waste collection point for hazardous waste.
- Use all the disinfectant in the bottle so that the bottle is completely empty. Not even a drop should come out of the bottle.
- Open the cap or pump section of the bottle to allow even the smallest disinfectant residue to evaporate.
- Sort the empty bottle and cap or pump section separately into a plastic packaging collection container.
Where can I put deposit recyclable plastic bottles?
Return them to the reverse vending machines located at supermarkets or Alko shops, while you can return non-deposit plastic bottles to plastic packaging containers at the Rinki eco take-back points.
Can I put plastic paint containers into the plastic packaging collection container?
No, you cannot. Take plastic paint cans with even a little paint left inside to the collection point specified by your local authority. The collection points for all waste materials in Finland can be found here: www.kierratys.info.
Can I put plastic medicine packets into the plastic packaging collection container?
Empty and dry plastic medicine, vitamin and herbal product packaging can be put into the plastic packaging collection container.
Plastic blister packs can also be recycled with plastic packaging. Packaging entirely made of aluminium is recycled with metal.
For packaging containing unused medicine or residues, follow the instructions offered by your local waste management service. Local pharmacies usually collect unwanted medicine. Unused medicine must never be flushed down the toilet or sink.
Can I put plastic coffee capsules into the plastic packaging collection container?
No, you cannot. Sort them as instructed by your local authority.
Capsules for coffee machines and coffee pods made of filter paper which are disposed of with the coffee product are not packaging.
Can I put biodegradable plastic packaging into the container for plastic packaging?
Biodegradable plastic packaging should mainly be used for composting but they can also be put into the container for plastic packaging. A biodegradable packaging will be sorted during the process and used in energy production since it would, as biodegradable material, be detrimental to the recycling process.
Can plastic potting soil bags be brought to the plastic packaging collection container?
Yes. Plastic potting soil bags can be brought to the plastic packaging collection. Make sure that the bag is empty. The black colour of the bag may prevent the plastic from being recognised by the optical identification device of the plastic recycler. Equipment suppliers are constantly developing technology to solve this problem in the near future.
How do I sort black plastic packaging?
Black plastic packaging can be put into the collection container despite the fact that with today’s technology some of it ends up in energy production. The problem is that the optical readers that are currently in use at the plastic refinery do not recognise all types of plastic used in black packaging. Nowadays, however, more and more black plastic packaging is also being recognized. Suppliers of equipment for the plastic refinery are constantly developing technology to solve this problem in the near future.
Can I put plastic flower or herb pots into the plastic packaging collection container?
Plastic pots used for flowers and herbs for short-term use or transportation and seedling planters can be taken to the plastic packaging collection as long as they are empty. Empty pots purchased in a shop are, however, classified as products and not as packaging and must, therefore, be disposed of with mixed waste.
Can I put toothpaste tubes into the plastic packaging collection container?
Yes, as long as they are empty.
Can I put polystyrene packaging into the container for plastic packaging?
Yes, packaging made of polystyrene, or EPS (expanded polystyrene) as it is officially known, can be put into the container. Please note, however, that EPS boards used in construction cannot be put into the container for plastic packaging.
Packaging made of EPS is not currently recycled, as it crumbles easily during the sorting process. The material is also very spongy and readily absorbs dirt and liquids.
Most of the EPS packaging used by various industries is recycled as the material is homogeneous.
How carefully do I need to wash plastic packaging?
As a rule of thumb, packaging should be clean enough to be stored at home for a few days without a notable smell.
They must not contain any food or other residue. Drain the packaging to make sure it is dry. You could easily clean the packaging for example with a small piece of paper towel to get rid of the most noticeable residue.
Can I put plastic packaging inside each other?
Packaging made of different types of plastic must not be put inside each other. The optical scanner at the recycling facility only recognises the material of the outermost item. If there are different types of plastic nested inside, they will go into the wrong category in the sorting process.
If you are sure that all packaging are made of the same type of plastic, you can put them inside each other. You can also use a plastic bag for carrying plastic packaging, as bags are automatically opened at the start of the sorting process.
Can I put plastic toys and plastic household items into the container for plastic packaging?
My plastic packaging has a letter but no number. Can it go into the plastic packaging collection container?
What kind of plastic packaging is suitable for recycling?
All plastics for packaging are suitable for recycling. If it is plastic and a packaging, it belongs in the plastic packaging collection. Products made of plastic, such as children’s toys, are not to be included in the plastic packaging collection container.
Do I need to remove and return plastic caps and lids separately?
Yes, whenever this is possible. Remove caps, lids, dispenser pumps and similar loose parts (e.g. films on packaging of cold cuts) and place these into the collection container separately.
Tops and lids are often different plastic than the rest of the packaging. In recycling process plastics are identified by an optical reading device and are separated from each other. For example, if the box and the cover film are different kind of plastics and connected to each other, the reading device recognizes only one. Part of the packaging ends up in the wrong group, which may significantly impede recycling.
It is also easier to flatten plastic bottles and cans without their tops. They take up less space when flattened. This also guarantees that the packaging is empty and dry.
What kind of packaging can be brought to the plastic packaging take-back points?
You can bring empty and dry plastic household packaging that was originally used as packaging for a product. Packaging is widely used for packing food, textiles, electrical devices and chemical products but other items also fall into this category. Shopping bags and plastic wrapping (like for a bread roll) are also considered packaging.
Please note that new plastic food containers, bin liners, cling film and other similar products bought in a shop are not plastic packaging, nor are plastic removal or storage boxes. These are plastic products and dealt with by municipalities.
Finnish legislation also specifies the packaging definition for certain products (Decree 518/2014, definitions in Finnish). Examples:
- CD cases are not packaging but the plastic wrapping on the case is.
- A plastic hanger is packaging if it was sold with a piece of clothing. Sold separately, a hanger is not packaging.
- The dosing ball for laundry detergent is packaging.